This is a review of Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds with charging case. Plantronics | BackBeat GO 2
Even so I have reviewed a lot of wireless and wired headphones in the last few months, once Plantronics announced an update to their original BackBeat Go earbuds, these became one of my most anticipated gadget for review. Plantronics doesn't need any special introduction since this company name became synonymous with quality wireless headsets for personal and business use. With that in mind, I wanted to see how it will translate into active style design with new improvements introduced in Go 2 model. So let's check it out.
I always like to start with a package since it sets a tone for the review. I was very impressed with presentation and especially a fact that Plantronics used all recyclable material with hardly any plastic. The product came with a set of wireless earbuds, a soft case with a built-in rechargeable battery, a travel charger (750mA) with a quality usb/micro-usb cable, 3 pairs of eartips of different sizes, and a detailed manual. The headset design is basically 2 earbuds interconnected with a flat noodle cable and in-line remote - a common design used by a few other wireless headphones. But that's where the similarity ends and all the new innovations begin which set BackBeat Go 2 ahead of their competition. First of all at 14g these are super lightweight and hardly even noticeable you have them on Part of that is due to an ergonomic design and custom eartips I found to work for me right away using large set of silicone tips. I usually reserve to go with Comply tips especially when dealing with such large 6mm drivers, but for my personal use I found included eartips to do a great job with fitment and sound isolation which is very important in order to experience the best sound quality. Earbuds also come with one size removable stabilizers which I personally didn't care for, but found them to be super useful to interconnect headphones like a necklace so these stay around my neck when not in my ears. This is not a documented feature, but one that you will definitely find useful. In general the build quality of these headphones is among some of the best I have tested; very rugged, and with military-grade moisture/sweat resistance thanks to coating technology by P2i. The in-line remote features 3 multi-function buttons with a nicely defined shapes you can feel easily with your fingertips considering remote will not be in your sight when you are wearing these with cable around the back of your neck. It also features a built-in microphone with a pretty good quality considering all my test phone calls went really good.
Pairing up with a phone was a breeze, and I was actually very surprised to leave my phone in one side of the house while walking away through our open floor plan and still maintaining a solid connection 50ft away. Multi-function remote is able to control playback with play/pause and skip next/prev along with volume up/down control. It worked great for audio as well as video, and switched seamlessly to phone functionality when picking up the call. Charging is done using a standard micro-usb connector, no need for any proprietary adapters. I do have to note that battery is specified for 4.5 hours of music listening time and 5 hours of talk. Its a bit disappointing but Plantronics compensated this with a totally awesome feature by including rechargeable battery inside of a storage case. The headphone actually comes in two versions, by itself and with charging case for an additional $20. This charging case is a must have option, so I would strongly recommend getting it. It adds 10hours of additional playback to headphones by charging it up with a built in micro usb cable As a matter of fact, you can do rapid charging where 20min will give you 1hr of additional playback time. This charging case is one clever design. With a total dimensions of about 3" x 3.5", the battery takes about 1/3 of the space at the bottom and has an exposed charging port with led indicator. In the corner of the case you have a battery status button, activated by pressing on the case itself which reveals a bi-color status led with blinking lights corresponding to 25% capacity increments. Furthermore, and that is brilliant, it has a pass-through charging where you can connect built-in micro-usb cable to headphones for charging and charge the battery itself at the same time. Once you done charging, fold and store earbuds inside of this case which has a soft inner lining and a nice durable outside layer.
Once headphones are paired up, you get a voice prompt telling you about connection to the phone and battery status. In addition, you can download a free Battery Status Meter widgets that gives you an indicator of headphones battery in 4 segments with increments of 25%. I know a lot of wireless headphones can be monitored from iOS status bar, but this is the first one for Android with a free widget to provide the same functionality. Also, I want to mention that battery has up to 10days stand by mode and a deepsleep mode with ridiculous 180 days standby. Of course, I decided to save the best for last. When I first looked at the spec of these earbuds, I was disappointed to see bluetooth 2.1 + EDR support. Sure, the protocol will support A2DP and AVRCP, but from my previous experience I found sound quality of wireless connection with 2.1 to be not that great, not until bluetooth 4.0+BLE and apt-x implementation. WELL, I was blown out of my seat when I started listening to music. Beside sounding better than any bt4.0+apt-x headphones I have tested, it blew out of the water some of my quality wired headphones. BackBeat Go 2 delivered a true Hi-Fi sounds thanks to its custom SBC codec. With a 3D soundstage filled with crisp highs, very clear mids, and clean bass - the sound came very natural, with quality suitable for any music genre. I especially love how rich was the bass sound without sacrificing high frequencies. I mean, these are not exactly in the same category as some $400+ audiophile earbuds with triple drivers, but the quality of sound these $79 (plus $20 charging case) wireless headphones delivered was very impressive.
Overall, I don't often use "must have" term in my reviews, but if you are serious about exercising or keeping your headphones wireless while enjoying a high quality sound with a nice bass enhancement - these stand above any other wireless headphones I have tested. If it wouldn't be for 4.5hr battery life, I would go as far as saying these are absolutely perfect. But compensated with a charging case, a truly innovative concept from Plantronics, these could be considered as nearly perfect.
Here are the pictures.